Here's my 3rd and final installment! :)
Part 1 is here: tripadvisor.com/…45682402
Part 2 is here: tripadvisor.com/…45693900
I swear each place the breakfasts were getting better & better. The Lighthouse had a menu you could order hot items from as well as a buffet with a good selection of items. First order of business for the day was to see Fungi. For anyone not sure if they should do this, I have to say I heartily recommend it. Yes it's totally touristy but who doesn't love dolphins? PLUS, the views of the coast from the boat were amazing. I was not expecting that and it was probably one of my favorite parts of the trip, sitting there at the entrance of Dingle Bay. It was spectacular! And yes, we definitely saw Fungi, he put on a great show! :)
After Fungi we had some Murphy's Ice cream (Dingle Sea Salt & Brown Bread, yummm) and did a bit of shopping. We were lucking out on the weather - it started off rainy & grey in the morning but by noon the clouds started to clear and we saw sun & bits of blue sky! We very happy about that because we had planned to do the Slea Head Drive. I could not recommend it enough! The views were amazing! I took sooo many pictures. And this time of year there were hardly anyone on the road, I don't think we had very much oncoming traffic at all.
After we got back to town we had dinner at the Dingle Bay Hotel, I had some delicious Sea Food Chowder. We ended the evening at O'Sullivan's Courthouse Pub. We had seen it the evening before, but it was completely packed with people. We got their nice and early this evening (I want to say around 8:00 or 8:30) and we got some prime seats. Loved the atmosphere there, great music. Just beware if you're tall - low ceilings! haha We were there until they kicked everyone out we had such a great time :)
Photos from Wednesday: shannonmorseblog.com/2013/…
We had another great breakfast at the Lighthouse then packed up. Our next stop was Kilkenny. It was one of our longest drives but we made some stops to break it up. First we stopped at Inch Beach. It was cold and windy but very pretty. And there were cows on the beach! We loved that. Plus a bunch of cute cats. Then back on the road. Seriously when we drive, we saw wow that's so pretty every three minutes.
We headed to the Muckross House in Killarney. We barely missed the tour that had just started so we had about 50 min to kill while we waited. We walked around the gorgeous grounds and checked out the cafeteria. We didn't actually have lunch there, but they seemed to have quite a nice selection of hot & cold items. We really enjoyed the tour, and the house had interesting history - fun fact it was previously owned by a couple from Grass Valley, CA which is only about an hour from where I live! The whole house had a Downton Abbey feel to it, and my sister and I are Downton Abbey junkies so we loved that.
I would have liked to stayed longer to explore the grounds but I really wanted to make it either Rock of Cashel or Cahir Castle before they closed, and as the day went on, it looked like we were only going to have time to go to one. After an unfortunate waste of time on a gas station pit stop (gas station ended up being shut down) we ended up getting way off schedule. But thankfully, we pulled into the parking lot of Rock of Cashel before 5 - which I was excited about since I had noted it closed at 5:3 - but the excitement was short lived. The place was already looking pretty deserted... We walked up to the entrance and to my disappointment the last admission was at 4:45 and we literally got to the door at 4:50. I tried knocking to see if they would just let us quickly walk through but either they didn't hear us or they are very strict on their last admission because the door never opened. That was probably the worst disappointment of the trip, to be standing there at the door wanting so badly to get in and knowing how close it was we missed the cut off. Word to the wise - don't worry about closing time, make good notes of the final admission time! We made the defeating walk back to the car and continued on our drive to Kilkenny.
We drove by an amazing old church that we ended up turning around and going back to take pictures of. So glad we did. We even spotted some old castle ruins in close by. I can't get over how cool it is to see these old historic structures just as randomly as we drive around. I did some googling once I was home to try and figure out what church/castle it was, and it looks like it was Clomantagh Castle and the church was built in the 12th century. I even see now that Clomantagh Castle has trip advisor reviews and people have stayed there - apparently it's available for rental! How cool would that be! irishlandmark.com/property-listings/Clomanta…
We made it to Kilkenny and thanks to previously locating Butler House's GPS co-ordinance I was able to find the parking lot - if you didn't know where you were going though I think you would be totally confused because it's off the main road! Checked in and were thoroughly impressed with Butler House. It was an old building but things were definitely updated. And you would not believe how big the rooms were - especially after being used to the smaller-ish Bed and Breakfast rooms. We splurged a bit to have the upgraded view and don't regret that one bit, we could see the courtyard and Kilkenny Castle right from our window. We walked around Kilkenny looking for a place to eat dinner. We ended up at Kysteryl Inn and it totally hit the spot. Dare I say my favorite meal of the trip?? Would definitely go back again!
Photos from Thursday: shannonmorseblog.com/2013/…
We woke to a beautiful blue sky and got up for breakfast. It was across the garden at this restaurant/cafe thing. It was really cool because they had a cold buffet and then hot items. So much food, we yet again stuffed ourselves. Sadly had to pack up our bags and check out of the Butler House - it was becoming a common theme to be sad to leave our lovely accommodations - always too short! The only downside to Butler House was the lack of elevators and having to climb three flights of stairs with our heavy suitcases.
We were able to leave our car in the hotel's lot which worked out peferct, and we explored Kilkenny. We took the self guided tour of Kilkenny Castle then walked around town and looked in some stores. Found an antique store which was quite exciting because it was the one and only one we went to on our trip. Had a light lunch at a coffee shop with free wifi across from Dunnes department store, then walked all the way down to St Canice’s Cathedral & Round Tower. Very glad we did because climbing that tower was quite the experience! It was so steep and scarey!! There were a bunch of ladders, I lost count of how many flights. It was an awesome view of Kilkenny once we got to the top. I can't imagine doing that with more than one or two other people though! The sign said that max capacity in the tower was 10 people but that would be so crowded! We walked through the church for a bit then began our walk back into town.
We picked up the car and got on the road on our journey back to Dublin to return the car. We hit some Friday afternoon/evening traffic as we got closer to Dublin. Then once we exited I was trying to find gas. As well as the Car rental return. It was some stressful times, especially when the first place I found for gas wasn't accepting my credit card. If you like to be prepared like me, I would definitely recommending getting better directions to the car drop off and maybe even a gas station.
We finally found the car rental return, only to get there and the gate had JUST been locked. Which meant we had to leave it in the car park instead. That may have worked out for the best because it was super simple doing the key drop off but it was frustrating at the time. We then went over to terminal 1 to leave our suitcases at the left baggage desk. We decided to do this because after our experience of lugging our suitcases on the bus on the first day we were in Dublin we decided we would gladly pay to leave our big bags and just take an overnight bag with essentials for our last evening.
We also didn't realize when I booked the Bnb, the Waterloo House, that it just so happened to be the same night as a World Cup qualifying game taking place down the street between Ireland and Germany. So the traffic & streets were crazy! When we told our taxi driver the location of our bnb he said, that was the one place I did not want to go tonight! But he was very nice and it wasn't too horrible since the game had already started by the time we got downtown. Originally I thought we would spend our last evening in Dublin doing something fun like going to Temple Bar... but after our long day, and the traffic and just the general trip busyness - we opted for a relaxing dinner instead. We walked to a near by restaurant, Milano's, and had a nice evening there. We even got a window seat and got to watch the hordes of people leaving the soccer game once it ended - that was about as much excitement as our tired selves could handle that night haha.
Our final morning in Ireland! We had a lovely breakfast at Waterloo House - again wish we had more time there - and this was our shortest stay yet! Very charming place though. We caught the Aircoach bus to the airport which took a bit longer than I expected so things were a little rushed at the airport - even though we got there a good three hours+ early. But we had wanted to pick up a few more souvenirs and being short on time we flew through that store like it was a shopping spree of some sort.
We enjoyed our last Bulmers before head out on our Aer Lingus flight home. PS - We were surprised to have to go through the security check point not once, but twice! (the second time after going through US Customs). And I thought once was bad enough!
Photos from Friday/Saturday: shannonmorseblog.com/2013/…
Well that concludes my long winded account of our trip! I can't wait to go back again! I absolutely loved Ireland! I'm already scheming on how I can get back there ASAP.... :) A HUGE thank you to everyone on TA who provided so much help and assistance! Can't imagine planning a trip like this without your help! Thank you for reading!Edited: 09 January 2013, 06:32